A total of 111 organisations, including 11 law firms, have received a "2009 Employer of Choice for Women" citation from the Federal Government's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).
This is up from 99 organisations (among them eight law firms) who made the list in 2008. All eight firms which made the 2008 list - Allens Arthur Robinson, Blake Dawson, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Freehills, Holding Redlich, Maddocks, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Sparke Helmore -made the list again this year. Newcomers for 2009 were Clayton Utz, Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers and Minter Ellison, though Clayton Utz previously made the cut in 2007.
The 2009 citation is Blake Dawson's ninth, making it the only law firm to have continuously held the citation since it was first awarded in 2001.
To gain a citation, organisations must meet certain criteria, including offering a minimum of six weeks' paid maternity leave after 12 months of service, providing the means for female managers to work part-time, ensuring the percentage of female managers is the same or greater than 28 per cent of the industry average and ensuring a pay equity analysis has been undertaken and any gap identified is less than the industry average.
According to EOWA, organisations gaining the citation this year achieved significantly better than the minimum criteria. Organisations had, on average, 12 weeks' paid maternity leave, an average of 46.7 per cent female managers and an average pay gap of 10.9 per cent between the genders, which is 5.1 per cent lower than the national average. The average pay gap on 10.9 per cent is, however, up slightly on last year's average of 10 per cent.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth's Female Talent Pipeline initiative was identified by EOWA as being of particular note. The initiative is aimed at assisting women's career progression in the firm by recognising that women do not position themselves for promotion in the same way as men, and are often trying to balance personal and career objectives at a critical time in their career.